Tearfund Action

Election Guide 2019

The UK is heading to the ballot box for a general election on Thursday 12 December. While the headlines will likely be dominated by Brexit, the election provides a great opportunity to remind MPs of these key issues:

  • Reducing global poverty, which the UK can have a big impact on  
  • The global climate emergency, which is already having a devastating impact on people living in poverty. 

We’ve put together some ideas for how to get involved and influence the future of our country, as well as some useful links to make it easy for you to vote.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED:

Read our blogs

We’ll be sharing some helpful articles in the lead-up to election day. Check back here or on our stories page for the latest updates.

  • 5 Things To Do Before the Election 
    It can be challenging to find the best way to engage with the election season. How do we honour God with our words and our votes? These are our five top tips.
  • Divided We Fall
    With another election imminent, the UK is becoming increasingly angry and divided as a nation. How should Christians contribute to an increasingly hostile debate?
  • Hustings: What you need to know
    The election brings an opportunity for churches to serve their community: by running a hustings. Find out what a hustings is, what it's like to attend, and how you can get involved. 

Ask the candidates questions

Tearfund has two suggested questions for you to ask your candidates. These aren’t party political questions – and they make sure that candidates understand that voters care about global poverty and climate change. 

Note: You don’t need to be an expert. It’s part of a would–be MP’s job to listen to their constituents’ concerns. Your point of view matters. 

1. Ask about international aid
Q: How will your party help protect the UK’s excellent delivery of overseas aid, which positively transforms lives and enables people to lift themselves out of poverty?

You could also add that you care passionately about aid because it saves many lives around the world every year – a life every two minutes!

2. Ask about climate change
Q: How will your party act to urgently tackle the climate emergency and accelerate the UK's progress towards a zero carbon economy?

You could also add that you think this is really important, because climate change is already causing terrible hunger and suffering around the world. 

For more in-depth information about UK Aid or Climate Change, read more below

Contact the candidates directly 

You don’t have to wait to be asked – you can contact your local candidates directly. You can find a list of candidates for your area on the Electoral Commission website. 

You could: 

  • Write them a letter 
  • Send them an email 
  • Send them a message via social media

Attend a hustings

Hustings are local meetings where candidates speak and answer questions from the public. They’re often hosted by churches. Visit the Churches Election Website to see if there’s one in your constituency. Do go if you can – it’s a great opportunity to ask questions and find out more about each party’s policies.

Read our blog 'Hustings: What you need to know' for more. 

Pray

Please join with us in praying for wisdom, integrity and unity throughout this election. We pray that despite the complex political uncertainties we face as a Union that justice and compassion for those here and abroad living in poverty would not be lost.

USEFUL LINKS

Here are some useful links that will help you get ready to cast your vote on the 12th December.

Register to vote (including postal votes) 
Find your polling station


MORE ABOUT OVERSEAS AID

The UK should be proud of the impact its aid spending is having – helping people around the world transform their lives and lift themselves out of poverty. Whilst it is not the only solution, aid has an important role to play in tackling many of the global challenges we face. 

UK aid has transformed communities. It is estimated that it saves a life every two minutes. It gives girls an education, it helps people make a living and leave poverty behind, and it helps communities prepare for, and deal with, disaster. 

Currently UK Aid represents a very small proportion of our national income. 0.7% of our Gross Domestic Product is spent on Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) that is equivalent to just 7p out of every £10 this nation earns. We should not have to choose between tackling need in the UK and around the world – it is possible to do both. People in the UK care about poverty and it is still a generous nation, as we regularly see when the public gives to our emergency appeals.

Here are 5 facts about what UK Aid has achieved: 

  • UK Aid saves lives – providing vaccinations that have helped immunise more than 67 million children against preventable diseases over the last 5 years.  
  • UK Aid gives children a decent education – helping 11.3 million children to access an education and trained more than 190,000 teachers in 2015 – 2016.  
  • UK Aid is helping countries eradicate poverty –  supporting 69.5 million people, including 36.4 million women gain access to financial services to help them work their way out of poverty.  
  • UK Aid is helping countries to tackle the impacts of climate change and access clean energy –  helping people to adapt to the effects of climate change, for example through providing early warning systems for when disasters strike. Through the international climate fund, DFID has helped over 12 million people to access clean energy.  
  • UK Aid is there when disasters strike – DFID has established a £500 million crisis reserve to enable rapid and effective response to emergencies. For example in Nepal, DFID helped restore healthcare services that will benefit 5.6million people living in earthquake affected districts.

For UK Aid to continue to deliver high quality services it is important that the Department for International Development (DFID) remains an independent government department targeted on reducing poverty – at the moment the UK is a world leader in aid and we want to keep it that way. An independent and transparent DFID is just one of the ways the UK can continue to be an important force for positive change in the world. 

MORE ABOUT Climate

Globally we are experiencing a climate emergency causing greater intensity and likelihood of droughts, floods, and wildfires, along with less reliable rain pushing people back into poverty. The world's poorest people, who have done least to contribute to the problem, need urgent action from us. Globally, we need to keep the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. Earlier this year, the UK Government committed in law to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to ‘net zero’ by 2050. We know that net zero can and should be achieved earlier, by 2045 at the very latest, although we are yet to see the ambitious policies and tangible actions required to meet this commitment.  

Please ask candidates what their party will do. Broadly, we think the UK are doing well on phasing out coal-fired power stations, but we need to see more progress across all key areas, in order to tackle the climate emergency. Important steps include:

  • Decarbonising transport, bringing forward the ban on petrol and diesel cars to 2030, greater investment in clean and efficient public transport, encouraging more walking and cycling, and fewer flights.
  • Stop funding fossil fuel expansion and increase renewable electricity supply and battery storage.
  • Decarbonising heating, with more warm homes and insulation, more renewable electricity, and more investment in the transition away from gas.
  • Reducing emissions from agriculture, food and food waste

We can afford it. Since 1990 the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 40% while the economy has grown by 75%. If we transition to a zero carbon future in a fair and planned way, it can also create new jobs and boost economic development. Conversely, the UK currently puts more money into expanding polluting fossil fuels in developing countries than into clean energy overseas.

With the UK’s future relationship to the EU still unclear, it is difficult to predict what changes are ahead. Adopting an ambitious approaches to tackling climate change is an important way to show we’re not turning our backs on the world.